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CO House bill aims to temporarily disarm person posing extreme risk to self or others

Posted: 1:10 PM, May 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-02 15:10:50-04

A proposed bill in the Colorado Legislature could temporarily remove firearms from a person posing serious risk to self or others by possessing or controlling a gun.

State Representatives Alec Garnett (D – Denver County) and Cole Wist (D – Arapahoe County) are the prime sponsors of the bill. It was approved out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-4. The next step is a vote within the full House before a possible move into the Colorado Senate.

According to bill HB18-1436, it would provide the opportunity for a family, household member, or law enforcement officer to petition the court for a temporary "extreme risk protection order" against the person posing a risk (ERPO). The petitioner must be able to provide a great deal of evidence that the person in question poses a serious risk to self or others by having a "firearm in his or her custody or control or by possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm."

The bill is also known as "The Deputy Zackari Parrish III Violence Prevention Act" following the death of the Douglas County Deputy after he was shot and killed in the line of duty. According to a release, community leaders came together to find a way to help prevent another tragedy like this from happening. 

State Representatives Alec Garnett (D – Denver County) and Cole Wist (D – Arapahoe County) are the prime sponsors of the bill. It was approved out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-4. The next step is a vote within the full House.

The petitioner must submit an affidavit signed under oath and penalty of perjury that the evidence presented supports the need for the issuance of a temporary ERPO. The court will hold a temporary hearing in person or by phone on the day the petition is filed or on the court day immediately following, according to the bill.

Once the ERPO is issued, the respondent must surrender all firearms and any concealed carry permit. The firearms will be surrendered to a law enforcement agency or a federally licensed firearms dealer, unless the weapon is registered to another person, the bill says.

According to the bill, once the ERPO is issued a second hearing must be scheduled no later than seven days following the issuance to determine if a continuance is needed. If "clear and convincing" evidence supports that the person poses a serious risk then the ERPO will be continued.

The respondent will be able to file a hearing once during the 182-day ERPO period to potentially terminate the order. The court will terminate the ERPO if the petitioner does not establish "clear and convincing" evidence that the respondent continues to pose a risk of causing personal injury to self or others by having, controlling, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm, according to the bill. 

According to a release, at least eight other states have adopted "Red Flag" laws. 

The bill will require the state court administrator to develop and prepare standard petitions and ERPO forms.